Colorado Track, Casinos Debate Gambling Measures
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) – Colorado voters this fall may see competing proposals on gambling, one by a horse racing track that wants to expand into slot machines, another by a casino industry worried by the track’s proposal.
The Daily Sentinel reported Monday that Aurora’s Arapahoe Park wants Colorado voters to allow it to have up to 2,500 slot machines or video lottery terminals at its track in Arapahoe County or where it offers betting on its races in Mesa and Pueblo counties.
The track’s proposals do not call for local votes. The casino industry says any gambling expansion should have to follow the rules casinos followed, including not just a statewide, but local votes. The industry also is proposing measures barring a company from having a monopoly in any community on such gambling.
“Those citizens in those counties should be able to make the decision if they want a large gaming facility in their communities,” said Lois Rice, executive director of the Colorado Gaming Association.
She added: “If Arapahoe Park were to get a casino license and have a five-year monopoly on a casino, obviously that eliminates the equal playing field that our industry has enjoyed for over 22 years.”
Monica McCafferty, spokeswoman for the horse track measures, said her group is monitoring the casinos’ proposals, but declined to comment further on them.
McCafferty said her group, Coloradans for Better Schools, is going ahead with six proposals it has submitted to the Colorado Titling Board, which reviews citizens’ initiatives, and will decide later which one to take to the fall ballot.
The group is proposing that 34 percent to 37 percent of proceeds would fund public schools, and an additional amount to be negotiated that would go to the counties that would have the new gambling.
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